São Paulo budget distribution reproduces inequalities, says expert

This week’s Ambiente É o Meio program talks to Professor Úrsula Dias Peres, from USP’s School of Arts, Sciences and Humanities (EACH). Specialist in public policy management, Úrsula talks about the budget and urban planning of the city of São Paulo.

The teacher lists some of the problems faced by the metropolis, such as social inequality, urban mobility and the environmental issue. It says that many of them are caused by an adversity faced by the city: the bad public administration. He says that, given the budget of São Paulo, it is contradictory to think about the “enormous difficulty” that the region has to “account for the priority investments that the city needs in urban infrastructure”.

Úrsula says that the city has a collection of 60 billion, but says that “this amount, given our rules and our needs, is absolutely insufficient to account for all the problems”. The budget, according to the teacher, is distributed in such a way as to reproduce the problems, because “it ends up privileging the spaces of equipment already constituted, with difficulty to increase investments in the places where it is most needed”.

The allocation of most resources to a few specific areas, says the professor, brings difficulties for society’s participation in the budget debate. He says that currently there is a “very strong participatory discussion, sectorally speaking”, but that in this way “a broad and collective arena is unlikely to be created”. He says that, over time, investment for participatory debate has been decreasing. Thus, it is as if it passed “to the population the power to decide what not to do and that is very bad and complicated”.

For Ursula, the city’s investment “cannot continue to be so centralized”. He affirms that it is necessary to open the budget in order to be thought from the 32 Subprefectures of São Paulo to then take budget information to the neighborhoods and thus “be able to think of a new way of discussing with people how this budget is being placed in the territory”.